By Julie Hodges
Years ago I worked in an office near downtown Lubbock. Occasionally, I would treat myself to an empanada or a breakfast burrito from The Jimenez Bakery and Restaurant on my way to work. An empanada, for those of you wondering, is a stuffed pastry filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables or fruits. My favorite empanada filling is pumpkin. Last week I had an opportunity to visit with Martha and Luis Jimenez to learn more about the bakery and restaurant.
Lucio Jimenez came from Mexico, where he had worked in a bakery and restaurant. Upon arriving in Lubbock, he worked for a few years at a local bakery and then in 1969 he opened his own. Besides traditional American baked goods like pies, cookies, and donuts, Lucio also prepared a variety of Mexican pastries, including traditional holiday sweet breads. All the recipes used were Lucio Jimenez originals, perfected by years of practice. Today his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren run the family business.
Luis Jimenez is a jovial man with boundless energy and a heart-warming smile. He was his father’s apprentice and now head’s up the Jimenez Bakery. “Everything is made from scratch,” Luis said, adding a list of the establishment’s most popular items, “brownies, empanadas, sweet breads, and donuts.”
During the holidays, the bakery cooks up a few special items:
Dia de Los Muertos (Nov. 2): Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead)
Thanksgiving: Pumpkin, Pecan , Apple, Cheery and Sweet Potato Pies
Christmas: Cookies, small breads, and pies
Kings Day: (Jan 6) Roscas de Reyes – traditional pastry commemorating the arrival of the three Magi or Wise Men.
The Jimenez Bakery is the only establishment in town preserving the tradition of making special Mexican pastries during the holidays. Martha Jimenez told me that schools from across the region place orders at the bakery during Mexican holidays and some come for tours. “We are preserving the heritage, colors and customs at the bakery and sharing it with the next generation,” Martha said.
The bakery also takes orders for wedding cakes, Quinceanera cakes, birthday and anniversary cakes.
Just across from the bakery is the restaurant side of the business. During breakfast and lunch folks on break from jury duty and those employed downtown pile in for enchiladas, rancheros, migas and other breakfast and Mexican fare.
The Jimenez Bakery and Restaurant is located at 1217 Crickets Avenue in Lubbock. Bakery hours are 6:30am to 6pm. Restaurant hours are 7am to 3pm.